Friday, May 10, 1996

EROICA (as performed by Glenn Gould)

Sounds like it was recorded 
  in a garage, piano
chords bounding and disappearing
  in a vast chamber, the roof
lifted, his figure coiled, low-
  boned, nocturnal. Through spaces
the original intention forms
  and is painful, erudite,
collapsing; he would walk around
  his instrument, measuring 
a distance of centuries,
  matching a brilliance he would keep
to himself until clarity
  would compel him to begin.

Master or servant, listening to
  a voice which would confuse such 
distinctions, needing those rests
  which swell into deafness, then 
pounding back with something like fear.
  What risks you will take when you
retire, your knuckles stilled against
  a perfect machine, supple,
aloof, dignified. Accolades 
  are always shared: yours defend
the paradox of music
  and silence, the score of a grave
like a muse you must master.

[The Fiddlehead No. 187, Spring 1996]

Rimbaud at Marseilles

His infant lust after language:
asylums filling with voices
of the profound: they lay on rolled
sails, inventing new flowers to name.

In small rooms fires erupt
from tea-cups, poppy seed and one-
legged visions pull his body back
intact to Somali shores, caravans.

He would clutch for hands, searching
for scars and panic he recalled placing
with a knife kept sharp for intimates;
staring into cut eyes of strangers.

Some wounded, some mended, his limping
love chasing down absinthe drunks
or child-like savages; Harar
or Paris, or the hospital
of the Immaculate Conception.

[Published in The Fiddlehead No. 187, Spring 1996]